Coronavirus impact: Phone retailers seek relief amid closures

Mumbai: Mobile phone retailers have asked the government for more relief after 150,000 stores were forced to close during the three-week lockdown in India’s battle against Covid-19.

The list of relief measures includes a waiver on interest on loans for three months and on rentals during the lockdown period.

The retailers also highlighted difficulties in paying salaries and emphasised the need for security in retail shops.

“…the need of the hour is the waiver on interest on various loans for three months…


when there is no income, even though salaries and commercial rents will be paid, the additional burden of having to pay interest on EMIs of these three months may result in bankruptcy for many,” the All India Mobile Retailers Association (AIMRA) said in a letter to finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman dated March 31.

The government had announced relief measures last week for all sectors, including a three-month deferment of EMI payments.

AIMRA had in earlier letters highlighted the plight of the retailers whose stocks remained unsold because of the nationwide lockdown.

In another letter to commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal, the association asked for rentals to be waived during the lockdown.

“…landlords can probably be assured that for not taking rent during the period of lockdown, they will be provided reimbursement by the government from GST subsidy/some other form over a span of 12 months,” they said in the letter dated March 30.

AIMRA said a three-month waiver on interest and help with payment of salaries of employees are the need of the hour. The association highlighted incidents of burglaries in marketplaces and sought increased night patrolling to ensure safety.


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